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  • How To Fix The Hitting “Guru” #57 Problem Once And For All – A New Year’s Resolution…

Consider the following Tweet from Matt Pierce, who I highly respect in hitting circles…

I love what Matt is saying here, and I agree with him 100%!  I’ve wanted to address this for some time, but couldn’t figure out how to frame it without coaches thinking I’m delusional.  However, I’m about to reveal this is a Mount Everest “ask” because:

  1. We can’t control what we can’t control (e.g. other people’s actions or reactions).
  2. We don’t know what we don’t know (knowledge – and/or common sense – isn’t always what people are seeking).
  3. People don’t want to leave their chosen “tribe” (when we put many years into thinking one way, it’s hard to change, no matter the mountain of evidence to the contrary).
  4. Fixed Mindset is a REAL thing (nothing is more fragile than a 40-year-old male ego).

At the end of this post, I will share 11 things I think cuts to the heart of the debate (HINT: it has to do with a case of “mistaken identity”)

PLEASE NOTE: I’m no saint in this conversation, so let me get that out of the way.  I’ve been called “unprofessional” in some of my responses on the Socials.  I own that.  I’m not a robot devoid of emotion.  To my defense though, I do let people have their say, and seldom “hide” or delete Social media comments – no matter how ridiculous – because I feel coaches should see us with all bumps and bruises.

Now, let’s address Matt’s big asks:

  • Want for coaches to stop mocking other coaches.
  • Want for coaches to stop blasting guys bc of the level they coach.
  • Want for coaches to stop using the word guru in describing a coach that they disagree with.
  • Want for coaches to spread info without the need to attack others in their teach…

It starts with the fact…

 

We can’t control what we can’t control (e.g. other people’s actions or reactions)

Here is one of my personal rules for posting on Social media: DO NOT respond to another hitting person’s Social media post, Tweet, etc. that I don’t agree with.  And I see A LOT of garbage out there, believe me.  But I don’t feel the need to tell them so…I keep my hands to myself.  Imagine for a moment, you sell a hitting aid, book, or online course, and you get one the following dandy comments… (think about how you’d react)…

And here’s a YouTube comment on one of my videos…

If you can’t read the YouTube comment, then it’s because the image is too small…here you go (incorrect spelling and grammar intact)

“This video is silly to me.  First and most importantly, you do not teach any player especially a young player how to hit deep fly balls or “in the air with power.  Why and the hell would you do that? Don’t pollute the internet with this garbage any longer.  Btw, every hitter “gets shorter”. It is impossible to gain any ground and not drop. There is no strategic advantage in it nor should it be stressed in instruction.  It’s a natural part of any swing and has nothing to do with power or hitting fly balls.  Your messing up swings with shit.”

By the way, the above comments aren’t too bad, I have others 10X as bad.  Look, I don’t mind healthy debate, but it MUST be respectful, and no respectful conversation can start with any one of the above comments.  Sue me for coming off as “unprofessional” in responses.  Good times is Taylor Gardner (Backspin Tee), Matt Lisle, and I snapshotting them on our phones, and laughing over drinks…true story.

So NO, we cannot control how others react or respond.  Building the case of our “mistaken identity” solution is starting to take shape.  Now, let’s address the fact…

 

We don’t know what we don’t know (knowledge – and/or common sense – isn’t always what people are seeking)

As you were reading those dandy comments above, were you thinking, “I don’t think this person knows about the Hitting Performance Lab.”  Therein lies the frustration.

To their defense, they’ve only seen ONE post or ad from us on the Socials.  They…

  • Don’t know us from “Adam”.
  • Haven’t done their homework.
  • Have been burned by others in the industry (a clue to our “mistaken identity” solution…).

I don’t take the comments personal anymore.  They don’t understand how we’re:

  • Applying human movement principles validated by REAL Science to hitting a ball, NOT because-I-said-so “bro-science”.
  • Leading close to 40,000 coaches on this journey.
  • Sharing nearly 300 FREE blog posts that hold nothing back when it comes to breaking down the what, how, and why of our system.
  • Blessed to have an Amazon best selling book on hitting, over 11,500 books sold and downloaded, and has accumulated well over 100 Amazon books reviews with an average star rating of 4.3 out of 5 (includes both first and second edition of The Catapult Loading System).
  • Gifted frequent positive testimonials from our readers on a weekly basis via Social media and over email, which you can read on our About page.

So yes,

  • We’re dealing with people who don’t know what they don’t know.  And,
  • We can’t control what we can’t control.

…Coaches, we MUST understand this.  Building the case of our “mistaken identity” solution is picking up speed.  Now, let’s address the fact…

 

 

People don’t want to leave their chosen “tribe” (when we put many years into thinking one way, it’s hard to change, no matter the mountain of evidence to the contrary)

I talked to Dr. Tom Hanson about this recently.  Consider the “Church of Baseball” or “Politics of Baseball”.  The idea is that based on our life experiences, we stick close to our current “tribe” for fear of missing out, being ostracized, and/or being abandoned when seeking another tribe.  Even if the “other” tribe provides a mountain of evidence to the contrary of our thinking.

I call it wearing hitting “beer goggles”.  Refusing to take off the distorted glasses to seek real facts and actual truth.  In 2013, I completely jumped out of the hitting industry, refused to read or watch anything hitting, and completely pivoted to researching Physics, Bio-mechanics, Engineering, Body Work, etc.  I didn’t understand it at first, but kept reading and re-reading – eventually it started to sink in.

We’re seeing this “beer goggle” theory play out in the Politics right now.  Most of you have seen ridiculous comments on your Facebook feed from others…past or current friends about Political issues. I’ve seen people on both sides “un-friend” each other because one believes one thing and the other believes the complete opposite.  People are retreating to their tribe’s boxing corner, and staying there.

Look familiar?  Because it’s happening to our hitting community.  People become attached to certain hitting “gurus”, a word I know Matt said not to use.  I had quite a few talks with a current professional hitter, who has had quite a few cups of coffee in the Big Leagues, saying many “gurus” are out there trying to reinvent the wheel.  And what he means by that is, they’re teaching the same thing as everyone else but calling it something different and claiming ownership.

The reality is originating something new occurs with far less frequency than innovating something new.  Give credit where credit is due coaches.  If people took the time to research where ideas originated, then the number of “tribes” people stick to would shrink to one or two.  And even with those, hitting agreement would probably reach 98%.

So yes,

  • We can’t control other people’s actions or reactions.
  • Knowledge – and/or common sense – isn’t always what people are seeking. And,
  • When we put many years into thinking one way, it’s hard to change, no matter the mountain of evidence to the contrary.

We’re almost done building the case for our “mistaken identity” solution.  Now, let’s look at the fact…

 

Fixed Mindset is a REAL thing (nothing is more fragile than the 40-year-old male ego)

I won’t get into this here because I got into it here AND here.  But I will say this, I’ve fallen into the Fixed Mindset trap.  It’s like a cozy warm blanket, and much easier to misplace blame when we don’t know the answer.  For example, how do you explain a kid by the name of Hudson White at 14-years-old blasting 11-dingers in a row at the National Power Showcase, averaging 395-feet in batted ball distance – when he’s only 5-foot, 7-inches, weighing 135-pounds?

“What bat did he use?” …a few may ask…metal minus-5…“See!!” they exclaim, “The bat is HOT!!”  But what if I were to tell you eye-witness accounts have said that Hudson consistently hit balls 395-feet with an old Hickory wood bat?  How do we explain something we may not understand?

  • “He’s just a special case”
  • “He’s using a HOT bat”
  • “He can’t do that in a game though”
  • “They’re lying or mistaken about the distance”

These are FIXED Mindset coaching responses (from real people by the way!).  Look, it’s okay to say you don’t know, and here’s an even better TIP…if one does not know something, then keep the “pie-hole” shut.  The above bullet point comments take away from the hard work these hitters have and are putting into their swings.  Shameful.

Instead acknowledge maybe your knowledge is limited and seek to understand, not to be understood.  Ask “WHY”, not “Why Not”.  Every day, ask: “Is there something I may be missing”.  This is what Growth Mindset coaches do.

So yes,

  • We can’t control what we can’t control.
  • We don’t know what we don’t know.
  • People don’t want to leave their chosen “tribe”. And,
  • Nothing is more fragile than the 40-year-old male ego.

 

Fixing the issue of “mistaken identity”

Before getting to fixing the issue of “mistaken identity”, let’s review Matt’s big asks:

  • Want for coaches to stop mocking other coaches.
  • Want for coaches to stop blasting guys bc of the level they coach.
  • Want for coaches to stop using the word guru in describing a coach that they disagree with.
  • Want for coaches to spread info without the need to attack others in their teach…

Before agreeing to his “asks”, I want to scribble in a few more…

  1. Parents and coaches start conversations with respectful first comments.
  2. Parents and coaches seek to understand first, then to be understood.
  3. Parents and coaches be willing to try a new-to-them concept first, before resorting to being a negative Nancy armchair quarterbacks.  And,
  4. I think if the previous three are checked off, then setting ego aside and looking at issue from a Growth Mindset perspective will be 10X easier.

Possible?  Maybe, but it’s a TALL order.  If those points cannot get checked off, then I claim my 1st Amendment right to call out Hitting “Guru” #57.  Do we have a deal Matt!?

Now, to solve the case of mistaken identity…

For those who know how we operate at the Hitting Performance Lab, remember reading through those Facebook and YouTube comments in the beginning of this rant, and thinking they’re falsely associating and projecting a bad experience they may have had with another hitting “guru”?  Here are my BIG “asks”:

  1. Quit basing your teachings on because-I-said-so “bro-science” (What is that? CLICK HERE). It doesn’t work predictably.  I know because I used to base my teachings on it, and can now compare our hitters’ performance to what we teach now – WOW! What a difference.  Apply human movement principles validated by REAL Science.  Success leaves clues, and principles work predictably.  Btw, failure leaves clues too!
  2. It’s not about how many years you’ve coached.  It’s not about what high level you played at.  It’s not about how many hours of video analysis you’ve masterbated with.  It’s not even about how many long hours you’ve put into the cages.  At the end of the day, it’s about getting your hitters predictably positive hitting results.  Think of human movement principles as a shortcut (a good one) to spotting common patterns amongst elite hitters – saving you many hours of spinning the tires.  Work smarter not harder.
  3. Data IS NOT Science.  Data is a component of the Scientific Method, not the end-all-be-all.  Basing your teachings ONLY on data or video analysis without human movement priorities is like randomly shooting an arrow and calling whatever you hit.
  4. Don’t strike fear into parents that if they don’t spend money with you, they’ll be doomed to hitting purgatory for eternity.  This is a bonehead move, and I’m tired of getting these projected comments thanks to bad business practices.
  5. Help people by actually helping them.  Over the years, we’ve written nearly 300 free blog posts that detail our system.  Don’t just try and sell people…help people…then selling becomes the next logical step.
  6. Ben Brewster Twitter quote: “In the process, a few percent of our followers are willing to invest big time to know that last 2%. But I hate the paranoid, protective mentality thinking that people might steal your one good idea or philosophy. They might. Keep innovating and learning, you’ll have many more.” Right on!  SHARE what’s working.  Keep learning.  Keep innovating.  Give credit where credit is due.  You will be greatly rewarded, believe me.
  7. Moderation is key.  Hitting IS NOT rotational OR linear.  It’s not Launch Angles OR ground-balls.  It’s not sacrificing swing quality for power.  It’s NOT swing down OR swing up.  We can build a hitter that embodies linear AND rotational elements…who hits more line drives…who can hit for power AND average without dramatically increasing strikeouts…who can use “swing down” cues to fix an uppercut AND use “swing up” cues to fix a down swinger.
  8. Understand we can eat tomato soup with a spoon, fork, or knife but only one tool is more effective.  Teaching hitters is the same.  There may be many ways to teach hitting but there’s one MORE effective way…by applying human movement principles validated by REAL Science to hitting a ball.  The principles remain constant and limited, but I do agree there are hundreds – if not thousands – of ways (methods) to teaching them.  Listen, I don’t “own” these principles, I just happened to look where most weren’t looking, and stumbled onto them.
  9. If someone posts a video of a swing online, DO NOT pick apart without the owner asking you.  Video analysis of a hitter is a snapshot in time of the swing.  It’s a work in progress.  So unless otherwise solicited to give your advice, don’t.  I see a few “gurus” out there “red-lining” through swings of 8yos, 12yos, and 16yos – unsolicited, to prove a point.  That’s a real kid, someone’s son or daughter…niece or nephew…or client.  STOP doing this, or you’re a bully.
  10. Don’t drunk dial Social media.  Don’t lie, you’ve done this (I know I have)Don’t drink the liquid courage and then comment.  Remember what I said about taking off your hitting “beer goggles”?
  11. Coaches, if you promote digital products, books, and/or membership programs, then STOP “tricking” people into signing up.  Be upfront and honest with people.  It gives the rest of us working to do it right a BAD name.

I think a combination of Matt Pierce’s “asks” and my additional “asks” will turn this ship around.  OR, we’ll get much of the same thing in 2019!  Coaches, go forth and make awesomeness…

 

 

“If you want to argue with “science” as you refer to it, you are welcome and encouraged to do so…but bring your superior evidence and data to the argument!”

Scientist Dr. Richard Feynman

One of the most revered Scientists of our day, the late Dr. Richard Feyman. Photo courtesy: PopularMechanics.com

Science can be tricky.  However, just like with everything else, use proper judgement, and don’t outrun your common sense.

I want to preface a recent insightful Facebook conversation on this with a couple things…

According to Wikipedia,

“Richard Phillips Feynman was an American theoretical physicist, known for his work in the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics, and the physics of the super-fluidity of super-cooled liquid helium, as well as in particle physics for which he proposed the parton model. For his contributions to the development of quantum electrodynamics, Feynman, jointly with Julian Schwinger and Shin’ichirō Tomonaga, received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965.”

It’s okay.  I know you’re eyes glazed over reading that paragraph.  All you need to know is yeah, Dr. Richard Feynman was a super smart dude.  “…varying degrees of certainty” are the keywords to pay attention to in the Tweet.  He was a true student of Science, using the Scientific Method, and trying to be as objective and unbiased as any human can be.  He had a passionate curiosity of how all things worked.  A true blue scientist.  I highly recommend Dr. Feynman’s book titled, Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character.  It’s not a very technical read, goes fast, and is fascinating.

Wondering how to how to spot BAD Science?  Try this book titled, Bad Science: Quacks, Hacks, and Big Pharma Flacks by Dr. Ben Goldacre.  Dr. Goldacre’s humor and sarcasm goes a long way in getting through this one.

Okay, now that that’s over, let’s get to this week’s post…

I wanted to share a recent Facebook conversation I had with a couple gents.  One I will name “Coach”, so as to not put his name on blast.  Do you believe this statement: “…science is today’s religion. Ppl take it as, fact. If you think science is fact your horribly mistaken.”?  

I interjected in the following conversation, but mainly to confirm Jason O’Conner’s points.  He did a great job of picking apart this objection.  Feel free to use this as fire power for those coaches justifying NOT using science to mold effective swings.  At the end, I’ll put proof in the pudding.  The conversation went a little like this…

Coach:

“…yes u can argue with science. Science is religion not fact. Its guessing and testing not thinking and proving. Very little is proven fact in science. Science is only science until better science comes along. For example. The science of hitting….. there’s ppl out there that say he wasn’t completely right. Then there will be someone new saying the same of your doctor…..i find it funny scientists who can’t hit anything telling ppl the proper way to hit.*”

Jason O’Conner:

“Science is neither religion or guessing and testing. It is the discipline of seeking knowledge in pursuit of the truth and understanding. Whether being applied to medicine, the weather or the baseball swing, that understanding is only as good as the currently available information (data), and yes a process of observation, testing and retesting as tools improve necessarily updates our knowledge and improve our understanding. It does not rely on faith as religion does. It relies on evidence and data. “Hard anywhere” is a result. It doesn’t explain or teach how in fact one hits the ball hard anywhere consistently. That requires some understanding of how the bio-mechanics of the swing works and can be made most efficient for each player. If you want to argue with “science” as you refer to it, you are welcome and encouraged to do so…but bring your superior evidence and data to the argument!”

Coach:

“…science is today’s religion. Ppl take it as, fact. If you think science is fact your horribly mistaken…And i equate science to religion because ppl believe in it like a, religion. Examples being global warming, salt. Salt every day goes back and forth on being good or bad for u. Some think its bad…. others good….. And they all think that way because science told them to. That’s my problem with science. And, again……when better science comes along your science will no longer be science…… like i said. Hitting was figured out scientifically in the 70’s…….But today’s science said they were wrong. Yet they hit better back then.”

Jason O’Conner:

“…better science cannot come along and replace anything. Science uses better information and better data to improve understanding. Usually this happens as a result of technological advance. This is a pointless debate here. But of two things I am convinced:

  1. Your problem is not with science it is with people who may have referred to science to argue a viewpoint you disagree with…science requires critical debate of evidence to come to the most likely conclusion and
  2. As a generality, the elite athletes of today are superior to those of 30+ years ago. Trout would be the best hitter in any era. That is my opinion. Olympic athletes use bio-metrics in every aspect of their training, and there are few world records more than 10 years old.”

*I have a big problem with coaches who are arm-chair quarterbacks.  Saying something like, “I find it funny scientists who can’t hit anything telling ppl the proper way to hit”…is laughable, and a total slap in the face to hard working scientists like Dr. Richard Feynman.  This statement comes from a coach possessing a stubborn Fixed Mindset.  If every arm-chair QB would seek the truth like a Dr. Feynman, Dr. Serge Gracovetsky (The Spinal Engine), Dr. Kelly Starrett (Becoming A Supple Leopard), or Dr. Erik Dalton (Dynamic Body), they wouldn’t chronically suffer from foot-in-mouth disease.

Here’s a quote from Dr. Ben Goldacre that packages this coaching paradox nicely:

“I spend a lot of time talking to people who disagree with me – I would go so far as to say that it’s my favorite leisure activity – and repeatedly I meet individuals who are eager to share their views on science despite the fact that they have never done an experiment. They have never tested an idea for themselves, using their own hands, or seen the results of that test, using their own eyes, and they have never thought carefully about what those results mean for the idea they are testing, using their own brain. To these people “science” is a monolith, a mystery, and an authority, rather than a method.” – Ben Goldacre

I’m 100% CERTAIN there is BAD Science out there.  But coaches, it’s your job to weed out the good from the bad.  Just because 20% of Science may be bad, doesn’t mean we should not listen to the other 80%.  Don’t be a fool.  Knock the chip off your shoulder you may have about Science.  Don’t outrun it, but exercise common sense.  Please, please, PLEASE!

You can eat soup with a fork, knife, or spoon, but only one way is more effective.  Teaching hitters is the same.  There are hundreds of ways to teach hitting that’s for certain.  However, applying human movement principles that are validated by REAL science to hitting a ball, NOT because-I-said-so “bro-science”, is the pathway to power.

Coaches, have a higher standard for your hitters.  WHY?  Because your hitters are counting on you.

Success leaves clues.  I wanted to share a couple of my most recent testimonials received from parents (within the last week or so), unsolicited by the way.  Words can’t express the gratitude I feel on a weekly basis, almost daily, from parents and coaches sharing how these human movement principles are helping their hard working hitters…enjoy!

Josh, text message after coming up to Fresno from Los Angeles to hit for 2-hours, sons: Matt (Senior HS), Jonny (8th Grade), & James (6th Grade) come up…

“Thank you again for working with the boys. Both James and Jonny crushed a hit last night.  Jonny went 2-for-2 with 2 triples. James got his first double in a long time.  Field we played on had no fence so ball kept rolling…U should have heard the convo on the way home.  How they told their teammates their hitting instructor is the GOAT. Hilarious”

Chris, email about son Aidan (11yo) who has been working with me in my online video lesson program The Feedback Lab since 2017

“Joey, a sincere note of thanks for your guidance over the past two seasons in helping Aidan at the plate.  The All-Star team of which he’s a part won the State 11u tournament this past weekend and now moves on to the Midwest Region.  Since the team was selected, he’s worked his way up from batting 10th in the first tournament to 5th in the State Finals.  He’s gone 10/25 (.400) with 8 singles, 2 doubles and 8 RBI.  The last double came with 2 outs in the bottom of the 6th, bases loaded, and our team trailing 3-0.  Pretty pressure-filled situation being down to the last out with the season on the line.  He drove in 2 runs on a line drive down the left field line and went on to score the winning run.    

In no way is this meant to be boastful.  Sure—we’re really proud of him, but I truly believe the work he’s put in based on your instruction has given him the confidence as one of the smallest kids on the team to hit the ball with authority against any pitcher he faces.  Many thanks!”

Peter, email about son Ethan (9yo) who has been working with me in my online video lesson program The Feedback Lab since February of 2018.

“Thanks Joey, great feedback and analysis as always. The great part is that I’m also learning from you as we continue along. As I was getting ready to send you the last video I was seeing a lot of what you discussed in your analysis; keeping the shoulder angle and showing numbers to landing, and the top hand coming off way too soon. But I was struck by the consistency with his swing, every one had good barrel angel at landing, head movement after landing is way down and as you mentioned you can really see a much more confident swing!  Thanks again Joey, we couldn’t be happier! Looking forward to getting back at it! Talk again in a few weeks!”

Jason, email about son Bleau (12yo) who flew from Knoxville, TN with his best friend Jaser (11yo) and his family to hit, catch some Cali sun, and MLB baseball games. We hit for 10-hours spread out over 3 days.

“Joey, we had a wonderful dinner tonight down in Fisherman’s wharf. I asked the boys what their favorite part of the trip was thus far. Bleau said that ‘Joey is my favorite part’. Thank you for coming through and investing in him. We look forward to meeting your family.”

And last, but certainly not least, an updated on Hudson White, who if you remember was showcased in this post highlighting his performance at the National Power Showcase…

“This year he was a freshman on varsity at Byron Nelson high school. He was starting 2nd and 3 hole. He led all north Texas in hits most of the season and finished 7th overall with 45.  He was hitting the ball hard somewhere! Hudson was named District 5-6A Unanimous Newcomer Of The Year and All – Area Newcomer of the year finishing 7th in area with 45 hits, 25 RBI, 21 runs, 16 SB

https://sportsday.dallasnews.com/high-school/high-schools/2018/06/21/sportsdayhs-2018-area-baseball-teams-postseason-awards

He also just got back from the Wilson Midwest wood bat championship where he was names MVP  for hitting two home runs. He went 9-18 and only 1 single. The rest were doubles,triples and dingers!  Here’s his MVP interview:

https://twitter.com/martinbwhite/status/1007094716427653120?s=12

He has been on a tear hitting 6 home runs in the last 3 weeks with either wood or an old rusty metal bbcor bat.  Just an FYI update to all the haters and naysayers😂 its the Indian not the arrow. I appreciate your help and instruction. The proof is in the pudding.” – Marty White, email update about his son Hudson “The Hawk” (16yo)

TRUE or FALSE: “If you think science is fact you’re horribly mistaken”…FALSE.  Saying Science is just a “glorified opinion” is nonsense.  If that’s truly what you think, then you’re obviously spending time on the wrong things.  The little bit of BAD Science shouldn’t take away from the majority of good out there.  Coaches, please use some common sense, and as always test this stuff out for yourself – don’t just take my word for it.  And I think true-blue scientists like Dr. Richard Feynman would agree.

How To Turn Your Fixed Mindset Into A Growth Mindset (and WHY your Hitters will THANK YOU later)…

 

Growth Mindset versus Fixed Mindset

Fixed versus Growth Mindset illustration photo courtesy: KaylaCelliott.com

Nothing is more frustrating – and disappointing – than running into a Fixed Mindset coach…

All you get are excuses…excuses…EXCUSES!!

Think about the Fixed and Growth Mindsets, from Dr. Carol Dweck’s book Mindset, like the operating system for your computer or mobile device.  Each Mindset (or operating system) will take you down a different path to problem solving.

Some may say, well, the examples you give are reveal “closed minded coaches”, not a Fixed Mindset.  I disagree.

Look, I’m sure at times there are some closed minded Growth Mindset coaches, but I’m willing to bet my first born on that there are exponentially more closed minded Fixed Mindset coaches.  You see, closed mindedness is a subset of a Fixed Mindset coach, NOT a Growth Mindset one.

Before I get into taking you through the story, I wanted to let you know what I have for you:

  • An 8-min, 25-sec video from Trevor Ragan outlining the difference between a Fixed v. Growth Mindset (video above)
  • Address 7 DEVASTATING Fixed Mindset coaching EXCUSES that are killing the progress of smaller power hitters, and
  • The Fixed versus Growth Mindset Introduction from my new book.

Back to the story…

I ran into a couple of them on social media this past week about the promise I make in my Catapult Loading System book: How To Teach 100-Pound Hitters To Consistently Drive The Ball 300-Feet.

Particularly, they were commenting that Hudson White, the hitter I covered in this blog post, weighing 130-pounds hitting the ball 398-feet – and that includes wood – was an over-exaggeration.

To their credit, they did concede it’s possible.  But then oh man, here came ALL the excuses, taking credit away from the hitter’s dedication to his craft…

  1. “The bat was hot”,
  2. “Isn’t the norm, or has athletic ability – I wouldn’t take credit for that”,
  3. “Average kids don’t use there body’s efficiently as someone with above average athleticism can regardless of training”,
  4. “Only in batting practice and not in games”,
  5. “130-pound hitter wouldn’t make our Varsity team”,
  6. “Working with the exception, not the rule”, and the kicker comment about hitting ground-balls…

“I’ve never played or coached this game from a text book or a state sheet and never will. I do just what I’m doing here, I talk shop with knowledgeable people. Scouts, college coaches, minor league players and coaches and once in a blue moon with hitting instructors. I have very rarely come across any one of them that is as passionate about getting the ball in the air so much. Most of them try to keep things as simple as possible, which means barrel the ball, hit it hard. Period. No emphasis on air v ground, just barrel it.”

Addressing Excuse #1

Hudson White has hit balls over 398-feet with a Hickory wood.  My over half a dozen hitters tripling their body-weight in batted ball distance (i.e. 100-pounder hitting ball 300-feet), are not using hot bats, and neither did Hudson at the National Power Showcase Home-Run Derby Competition put on my Brian Domenico at the Texas Rangers ballpark in Arlington in 2016.

Addressing Excuses #2 &3

What does athleticism mean exactly? What are your rules that say one kid is athletic and another is not? I’d hallucinate yours are different than mine.  However, the question is, can we make a seemingly nonathletic kid average or even above average athletically?  Not all, but I think we can make EVERY kid move better.  And next week’s post interview with the founder of the Bosu Ball, David Weck, will shine more light on how to do this.

I brought up examples of Michael Jordan, Tim Tebow, and one of the best cricket players in the world weren’t able to or currently are not doing well enough to make it to the Big League level. It can be argued these are non-baseball athletic examples, but you’re saying above average athletic ability is one of the main causes for young hitters tripling their body-weight in batted ball distance.  It’s speculation.

I’d argue “train-ability”, as referenced in the Heritage Study from David Epstein’s book The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance, as a more crucial element than above average athleticism in explaining why my hitters (and other coaches’) can triple their body-weight in batted ball distance.  Learning is learning, but they still have to learn the most effective mechanics.

Take for instance my 67-pound hitter blasting a 180-foot dinger – in a game – after working with me for 6-months.  When we first started he couldn’t hit his way out of a wet paper bag.  So in 6-months did he auto-magically go from below average to above average athletically?

Addressing Excuse #4

I have game footage film of two of my hitters tripling their body-weight in batted ball distance:

By the way, Temo now is around 135-lbs and is consistently driving the ball 370+ feet.  Also, Hudson White is driving the ball 400-feet in games as well.

Addressing Excuse #5

Are you KIDDING ME!?  To write a player off based on the “eye test” is ignorant. It makes me sad how many of these “under-weighted” young hitters are not being given a chance because some coach DOESN’T HAVE A CLUE how to get educated in all things effective.

Coach, if this is you, then you’re going to love the Introduction to my book that follows, on Growth v. Fixed Mindsets…

But first,

Addressing Excuse #6

This one made me laugh.  I responded back with something like, man I must be running into all these exceptions then!  Myself and the hundreds of coaches – who’re getting the same, if not better, results than I am by the way – teaching the same system, must be exception magnets!!! lol

Addressing Bonus Excuse #7

Look I agree, line drives and barreling the ball AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE should be every coaches objective for their hitters.  However, the question is raised, if you were to have your hitters miss, would you rather have them miss hit the ball in the air or on the ground?  I’m not going dive deep into this here, because I did that already in the Ground-Ball Rant, but I do want to say High School coaches (on down) are getting a false sense of achievement with the ground-ball because fielders aren’t what they are at the D1 and Pro levels.

Now, listen closely…

If you’re not teaching your hitters to consistently drive the ball (in the air), then YOU WILL HAMSTRING them at the higher levels, if they make it that far.  And by then, it’s too late.

I was just on the Coaching Minds Podcast by host Justin Lewis (Please follow him on Twitter @The_Coach_Mind), our interview I’ll be posting in 3 weeks or so, shared that he works almost exclusively with High School and College level fast-pitch hitters.

The horror stories he revealed the new hitters he’d get in college, reported they were only taught to slap the ball their whole life because of how “tiny” they were.  What happens to these girls at the college level?  When a hitting situation would come up to drive in runs, you know what the college coach does to these “tiny” slap hitting specialist?  

They pinch hit them.

If ground-balls were so great, then why not let this slapping specialist slap?!  Ground-balls are her specialty!!  Let me give you a clue, ground-balls work less at the college level…and EVEN LESS at the Pro level.  Don’t let this happen to your hitters.

And after hearing ALL these excuses, it was refreshing to get this email message from a coach after watching my webinar (I can’t say he uses my system though, but the message speaks for itself):

“The 135-lb pound kid…that is good but not that impressive…not too many kids at the age of 12 and 13 that weigh 135 pounds…he should be hitting the ball that far…now the 67 pound kid…that is impressive (one of my players at 75 pounds can hit the ball 225)” – ulley13usparks (username)

Now, he was talking about my two 13u  hitters Eddie S. and Temo C. both weighing 135-lbs and driving the ball 370+ feet, and my 67-lb hitter I spoke of earlier in this post.  “…should be hitting the ball that far…”, man, how refreshing to hear.

This leads me to the MAIN ISSUE…the above excuses are from Fixed Mindset coaches.  The video above is fantastic education on the Fixed versus Growth Mindset debate in under 10-minutes.  Rest assured you’ll be a more effective coach after watching the video.  And if you like the video, then you’ll love Dr. Carol Dweck’s book Mindset.

And to drive the nail home, below I’m including the Introduction to my new book The Catapult Loading System: How To Train 100-Pound Hitters To Consistently Drive The Ball 300-Feet, that people are loving by the way…just read the Amazon book reviews so far.

Without further adieu, here’s the Fixed v. Growth Mindset Intro…

—–

“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”

– Eric Hoffe

Fixed Versus Growth Mindset CoachingGrowth Mindset: The Catapult Loading System Book

When it comes building consistently powerful hitters, this book will provide you with the pathway to get there.

However, I think the most important aspect to bridging the gap between what the coach teaches and what the player absorbs has to do with Mindset…

Coaches can be split up into two groups.

  1. Fixed Mindset
  2. Growth Mindset.

According to Dr. Carol Dweck, in her bestselling book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,

“In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort.”

Here are some things you hear FIXED Mindset coaches saying,

  • You can’t teach a Little Leaguer to hit like a Major Leaguer because they aren’t strong enough.
  • Hand speed can’t be coached.
  • Natural hitters are just born.
  • Hitting is subjective and is different for everybody.
  • The greatest hitters just have great hand-eye coordination.
  • That 12u 100-pound hitter can consistently hit the ball 300-feet because they’re hitting with a HOT bat.
  • He/She can hit the ball hard and far because of their body mass.

All of those are to the contrary of Dr. Dweck’s definition of a Growth Mindset coach:

“In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. Brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.”

These coaches find a way. They ask the right questions. They ask, “Why not?”  They don’t rest on elite-level playing experience or decades of coaching experience.

The objective of a Growth Mindset coach is to learn principles first, or “rules”. Then, design methods to stay within those lines, not the other way around. You’ll learn more about this in CHAPTER 1.

I’ll let Billy Murray give Growth Mindset coaches a word of caution in dealing with Fixed Mindset coaches on social media:

“It’s hard to win an argument with a smart person, but it’s damn near impossible to win an argument with a stupid person.”

Why?

From Henry Ford:

“If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, then you’re right.”

One puts the forest before the trees (versus missing the forest for the trees), and the other is swatting a piñata with one eye blindfolded!

I get it, we all want to be heard and validated as being knowledgeable in a subject, but high credibility in the wrong place is highly misleading.

Some go to extreme lengths to IMMEDIATELY make their presence known. Here are some Fixed Mindset saying tip-offs:

  • “I’ve played [X-number] years professionally and I should know.”
  • “I’ve been coaching for 30+ years, and this is why you should listen to me.”
  • “I’ve studied millions of hours of video analysis of only the best hitters. I know what I’m talking about”
  • “I’ve put a lot of work into the cages, and that’s how I know what I’m talking about”

Don’t get me wrong, the last two points above have their place and CAN be effective in learning and seeing success patterns, BUT massive effort going in the wrong direction can be gross negligence.

Besides, it takes A LOT of effort in the cages and hours of video analysis to stumble onto the right answers.  But, I have a more elegant solution that will dramatically cut your learning time in half!

You’ll know what to look for, so you can SUPERCHARGE your time in the cages and also for when you’re doing video analysis.  You’ll read about this in CHAPTER 2.

Willful ignorance.

I heard this term on Facebook and love it!  People online defend their hitting philosophy and theories to the death, even if human-movement principles validated by science, reveal the opposite.

I mentally play the “What if…Strip” game with Fixed Mindset coaches…

WHAT IF this person NEVER…

  • Played in the Big Leagues…
  • Coached for 30+ years…
  • Studied millions of hours of video…
  • Put a lot of work into the cages…

…IF we stripped them of their primary credibility indicator, THEN I ask:

  • What do they actually know?
  • Who or what have they studied? (Physics, Bio-Mechanical, Psychology, Exercise Science sources? Not baseball or softball)
  • What kind of consistent or inconsistent results do they get with their hitters?

We’ll get deeper into the Credibility Fallacy in CHAPTER 3.

Fixed Mindset coaches are stuck. They regurgitate the same information they’ve been taught in the past without question. They may even say their hitting philosophy is a science, but it’s not.  It’s a pseudo-science.  Their copy and duct-taped together hitting philosophy reeks of uncertainty. We’ll get more into that in CHAPTER 4.

Here’s one of my favorite quotes by Dan Farnsworth:

“Doing a thing and understanding a thing do not automatically qualify you to teach a thing.”

And it’s so true!

I can tell with 100% confidence that I have not:

  • Played Professional baseball,
  • Coached for over 30 years,
  • Studied millions of hours of only the best hitters on video, or
  • Put in as much work in the cages as others say they do…

So, why listen to me?

Because of:

  • What I actually know,
  • Who and what I’ve studied, and
  • The results my hitters are getting.

We’ll drill deeper into these points in the following CHAPTERS, but what I think is VERY IMPORTANT for those who never played ball past Little League or 12u softball,

…That you too, can be a hitting expert.

All you need is a passionate curiosity to learn and apply the human-movement principles that are validated by science, to hitting a softball or baseball.  I’m going to teach you how to conduct fool-proof swing experiments, so that you can use your findings to show people who won’t take you seriously.

You’ll learn my swing-experiment-blueprint in CHAPTER 4.

And I’m going to break it down for you, so don’t worry if you didn’t do well in science class back in school.

CHAPTER 5 will take you through the science of springy fascia and spinal-engine-mechanics. This is the WHY behind the methods we discuss in the later chapters. You can skip this one, but please return to it later, so you have ammunition for Fixed Mindset coaches who won’t believe the results your hitters are getting.

CHAPTERS 6 through 11 will take you through the practical methods and drills my hitters are using to consistently triple, or at least double, their body-weight in batted ball distance.

Lastly, CHAPTER 12 will walk you through, how to train these newly-learned hitting techniques. I believe the training is as important, if not more critical, than the mechanics you’ll be learning in this book.

I had a third-year pro-hitter drive up from San Diego (about a 7-hour drive for me, one-way), comment that he thought the training by itself was worth the trip! And he spent a fortune in time and money to work through a whole weekend with me.

What You’ll Learn

Here’s what you’re going to learn in the upcoming pages:

  • Why hitting philosophy fails and principles that are validated by science succeed.
  • Why you shouldn’t make video analysis FIRST-priority, when modeling elite hitters.
  • What 30+ year coaching experience and pro players won’t tell you, and how the information source you focus on can dramatically cut down your learning curve.
  • How to become a hitting expert when you’ve never played higher than Little League.
  • There’s a BIG advantage to learning how the body actually loads (and it’s not what you’re thinking).
  • A simple method that helped Babe Ruth to consistently crush the ball with some of the heaviest bats ever used.
  • Elite-hitters revealing ways to hit balls with High-Exit-Speeds, swing after swing, using three elements even a 4-year-old can understand.
  • At last, the secret to transitioning grooved batting practice swings into game at-bats is revealed.

WHY is this Important to you now?

There are four reasons…

Most “hitting stuff” we’ve learned is DEAD WRONG. It’s based off philosophy and theory, and with the technology available today, we can test the value of those hitting philosophies.

Nowadays, everyone is a hitting “expert”. How do we differentiate between an effective versus an ineffective approach? This is important because it’s not how PRO someone is, how many years of coaching they’ve accumulated, how many man-hours of video analysis they’ve done, or even how many hours of lessons they do in a given day. You can’t argue with science and powerfully consistent results.

“Confusion” between mechanical causation equaling correlation. Can you put backspin on a ball by swinging down on it (i.e. negative barrel Attack Angle)? Yes, you can. But, will the hitter consistently get the ball in the air that way? No. In this case, swinging down does not consistently put the ball in the air with authority, and IS NOT what the best are REALLY doing on slow motion video.

Big difference between what’s “real” and what’s “feel”. When Mike Trout says he works at ‘getting on top of the ball’, that doesn’t mean Johnny’s coach should go out and share with his team this method. In fact, Mike Trout says this to himself to protect his swing from HIS naturally tendency to upper cut too much, like he says to ‘chicken wing’. The cues that MLB and professional hitters use are often lost in translation with the younger-end user.

Is the Information in this Book for you?

First, we WILL NOT be talking about:

  • ‘Squishing bugs’,
  • ‘Swinging down on the ball’, OR
  • ‘Loading & exploding the hips’.

Second, this is specifically about how to apply human movement ‘rules’ to hitting a moving ball, and not about hitting ‘philosophies’ or ‘theories’ that DO NOT predictably work in LIVE case studies.

Third, the information in this book is based on the success my personal hitters have had both online and locally, plus the hundreds of coaches, who’ve duplicated the results, if not bettered them by using this system.

The House Rules

Here’s what I’m not promising…

  1. No “get powerful hits, quick”.
  2. No “do nothing, and crush the ball”.
  3. My results aren’t remotely typical.
  4. Most people who buy ANY “consistent-power-swing” training, will not have success with getting consistent power in their hitters.

Addressing point numbers one and two above…

Some of my 12-years-old and under hitters, weighing around 100-pounds, don’t start consistently driving the ball 300-feet right away. Some take 2.5 years to get to consistency, whereas before they do it “every once in awhile”. Other hitters, although rare, achieve this in less than 6-months. This seems to be the range for the hitters I work with.

It depends on work ethic and what David Epstein calls ‘learn-ability’, in his book, The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance.

Addressing point numbers three and four above…

I encourage my hitters to work hard on the things we go over, and to keep on trying even after hitting major obstacles.

Most young hitters don’t do that. They just show up for a lesson or gather information and “get ready” to work…or they throw in the towel and quit at the first bump in the road.

It took a lot of hard work for my hitters to start seeing favorable hitting outcomes.

Interestingly, it was the work with my hitters that gave me the inspiration to write this book.

The bottom line is, I have no idea what your results may or may not be.

And it’s not my place to try to predict that. Your success is up to you, as always.

Onward…

—–

CLICK HERE to order your copy of The Catapult Loading System on Amazon today…

How To Use Brian Domenico’s Power Showcase To Get Seen By College Coaches & Pro Scouts

 

I have an opportunity for coaches with a hitter or two in mind you think could compete in Brian Domenico’s National or International Power Showcase Home-Run Derby.

If you remember, towards the end of 2016, I did a video post showcasing a small 14u slugger by the name of Hudson “The Hawk” White, who at the time of the 2016 National Power Showcase was 5’7″, and only 130-pound, managed to hit 11 consecutive homers averaging 398-feet.  He also came in second overall in the Derby!

Come to find out, Hudson’s father Martin said his son has been taught my system over the past 2+ years.  Mr. Martin left a fantastic testimonial in the following post, so please CLICK HERE to check it out.

Also remember, it was in the same post I talked about how 14u Blaze Jordan, 6’2″, 215-pounds, jacked two balls over 500-feet!

Here are some quick bullet points about the Power Showcases:

  • Brian Domenico is the President.
  • International Power Showcase has been around 12 years (started in 2004), and the National Power Showcase has been around for 3 years (started in 2014).
  • International Showcase has had 27 countries represented from around the world since its inception.
  • National Power Showcase (3 days – October 31st though November 2nd) & International (4 days in December and includes a Pro Scout Day).
  • Participants must achieve and maintain a high-level academic status, while possessing the redeeming leadership qualities and determination that exemplify respect in keeping with the game of baseball.
  • Notable Power Showcase Draftees: Bryce Harper, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo
    Power Showcase: Bryce Harper

    Bryce Harper at the 2009 Power Showcase hitting a 502-foot bomb. Photo courtesy: Power-Showcase.com

  • Objective of the Showcase for the player: to promote and market each player to the fullest extent possible (Great opportunity to dramatically boost a player’s recruiting stock).
  • Age Divisions: Future Stars 10-14 years old, High School, and Brian just added College.
  • Bats used are official, and NOT “juiced” or “hot”.

What’s interesting to note, for recruiting purposes is…

Over one half of POWER SHOWCASE participants were drafted by major league organizations directly out of high school. The remaining participants go on to play for major Division I and junior college programs and were/will likely be selected in upcoming MLB drafts.

Now, a HUGE event like this does not come with a cheap price tag, so it may not be for everyone.  However, I think you can see the HUGE upside potential to get a name out there, especially if you’re a coach who enjoys marketing your players.

Please expect to pay at least $1775.00 with a $575.00 deposit due within 7 days to hold spot.  Please CLICK HERE to get more information on how to register on the Power Showcase website.  Then click on either the “2017 PSC Nationals Texas” OR “2017 PSC Miami 12th” navigation bar links.

I’ve been asked by Brian to come out, and would love to see some of my students from afar, and coaching disciples.

If you’re interested, then please reach out to Brian Domenico at his website’s contact page (CLICK HERE to do that).  Also, VERY IMPORTANT: please mention where you heard about the Power Showcase, by mentioning my name and blog.

Brian has really put together an outstanding event that is a HUGE opportunity for those hitters looking to compete and make a name for themselves.

As always, keep me updated 😀

…Did You Catch The Performance Of The Small Slugger That Beat Blaze Jordan?

Some of you saw this video on the socials of Blaze Jordan hitting a couple 500-foot monster shots out of the Texas Rangers Arlington Stadium during Brian Domenico’s 2016 14u/15u home-run derby National Power Showcase:

Well, did you hear about the small-bopper who gave Blaze Jordan a run for his money?

By the way, Blaze Jordan stands in at 6-Foot tall, and 217-Pounds.  And the preceding Blaze Jordan profile link may be a year or two old!

I received this email from Marty, Hudson White’s father, earlier this week:

“Hello, i just wanted you to know that i have followed you for years and teach your principles to my 14u son who just came in second place at the 15u power showcase in Arlington Texas ahead of the world champion Blaze Jordan . he also broke the world record for most consecutive home-runs in a row at 11. he was a year younger and 50-100lbs smaller than all the other contestants who were made up of the best hitters in the country. It was the most amazing thing that anyone had ever seen . i wanted to share the video with you and hopefully you can help make it go viral. all the hype is about Blaze Jordan for hitting a 503 ft home run, but for a smaller younger kid to go out and break the world record for most consecutive and beat blaze in the final round to come in 2nd place is a major feat. my son is a lead off hitter. so all hit hits were 395ft line drives. this is your student. this is the result of your teachings. i am very grateful!”

Blaze Jordan: Got beat by Hudson "The Hawk" White

You can see Hudson “The Hawk” White is exemplifying the Catapult Loading System: ‘showing numbers’, ‘down shoulder angle’, & ‘hiding hands’. Photo courtesy: Hudson’s father Marty.

Here are summary notes about Hudson “The Hawk” White’s 2016 home-run derby performance via his dad:

  • Came In 2nd place.
  • Beat Blaze Jordan.
  • Broke world record with 11 consecutive home runs in a row .
  • High school fences set up.
  • Left park 6 times.
  • Hit 390-ft average.
  • Just turned 14.
  • 5-foot, 7-inches, 130-pounds.
  • Normally a lead off 1,2 hole on nationally ranked teams.
  • Didn’t think he could hang with all the 6’2″ 180 lb 15 year old 4-hole hitters there.

But can Hudson do this in a game?  Here’s a 380-390 foot triple:

What’s even more amazing?!

I didn’t work with Hudson White…his dad did…using the Hitting Performance Lab repeatable power formula.

Why is this HUGE?!

Marty is just one of the hundreds of coaches getting the same results, if not better, than I am with my own hitters – using the same process!!

So, it’s not just me, or that maybe I’m “Tony Robbins” special.

Also, if you believe this was done with a “doctored”, “hot”, or “bouncy” bat,

Here’s a comment from Kevin Freeman on Facebook:

“I know this kid personally. if all put the work in that he does it wouldn’t be so many whiny baby parents saying his bat is altered. I’ve personally watched him hit several balls over 400 ft with an old hickory Wood bat. All excuse making parents need to let their kid follow this kids work ethic and maybe they will get the recognition he does. if he hitting a -5 that is what he is supposed to be hitting at that age.”

Also, the following MLB.com video is President of the Power Showcase, Brian Domenico, talking about the contest, and around the 5:00 video mark, he talks about the bats and balls used:

Please do Hudson, Marty, and HPL a favor and PLEASE SHARE THIS post on your favorite social media networks…Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, etc.

This stuff works folks.  We’re producing hitters that are consistently tripling their body-weight in batted ball distance.

— Joey drops the mic —

UPDATE from June 26, 2018 email from dad…

“…This year he was a freshman on varsity at Byron Nelson High School. He was starting 2nd and 3 hole. He led all north Texas in hits most of the season and finished 7th overall with 45.  He was hitting the ball hard somewhere!  Hudson was named District 5-6A Unanimous Newcomer Of The Year and All – Area Newcomer of the year finishing 7th in area with 45 hits, 25 RBI, 21 runs , 16 SB.

https://sportsday.dallasnews.com/high-school/high-schools/2018/06/21/sportsdayhs-2018-area-baseball-teams-postseason-awards

He also just got back from the Wilson Midwest wood bat championship where he was named MVP for hitting two home runs. He went 9-18 and only 1 single. The rest were doubles, triples and dingers!  Here’s his mvp interview:

He has been on a tear hitting 6 home runs in the last 3 weeks with either wood or an old rusty metal bbcor bat.  Just an FYI update to all the haters and naysayers😂 its the Indian not the arrow.  I appreciate your help and instruction. The proof is in the pudding.”

 

UPDATE #2 from May 4, 2019 email from dad…

“He finished regular season number 8 in texas in hits, number 6 in extra base hits , and number 1 in doubles. Thats 4a,5a,6a. He’s number 2 in extra base hits in 6a and number 1 in doubles. And thats in arguably one of the top 5 toughest districts in the nation with 2 state champions from last year. The 6a champ and last years 5a champ moved up to 6a. Those coaches of the 5a state team go on an on about what a huge difference in competition in 6a where every team has 4 dudes.”